Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The User-Centered Universe Comes Closer

You know, we've all yakked on and on about how all our libraries need to be user-centric.
*Our physical architecture and furniture set-up should be arranged for the user's world, not ours.
*Our directional signage and way-finding aids (posters) point out helpful pieces of information at just the right moment of a user's journey.
*Our physical materials ought to be displayed with a friendly, welcoming and (frankly) retail-oriented appeal.
*Our Web sites need to use labels/tags that make sense to our spouses, significant others and friends.
*Our RSS feeds/blogs for library users need to add value to their day, not noise.
*Our electronic and digital collections need to translate immediately into benefits for the user's world: they're not here to find as many resources as possible on global warming--they're here to find three good articles from which they can substantively draw for a report that is due tomorrow.

I could go on and on. You could go on and on, and fill in the blanks for what you're dreaming of, for the perfect library in your mind. Or the im-perfect library that you currrently work in....or in my case, the library I imagine as a conjuration of multiple libraries I've used and dreamed of.

Where am I going with this? As I've been reading through the recent conference posts and rants (her word, not mine!), it looks like we are ready to "eat our own dog food," as the saying goes. We want our meta-conversations to be just as gracious as our libraries are.

I'm talking about presentations at library conferences. WE are the users in this case. Center your presentation around ME the audience member, here.

Now this is no big revelation--we're taught to consider your audience in High School Speech class...but I think the recent spate of blogsation (that's my new word of the day--blog conversation) shows that as an industry, we've internalized the message and now demand it of each other.

All I can say is,
Rock on.


Alane said...

How about "blogversation", Alice? I am liking the extra syllallable.

Alice said...

I can do blogversation. Hey ya'll--BLOGVERSATION. Alane, I think it's catching on...

Eric said...

Great post! Know your audience, be credible, give 'em a story with utility. And if that won't work, tell 'em jokes and bribe 'em with good swag? (At least I think that's what George told me ;-)